Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (536)

Denis Naughten

Question:

651 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of stem cell lines imported into this country over the past five years; the procedures set down for the importation and use of stem cell lines; the number of such lines which were sourced from embryos and the applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1235/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

My Department does not have information on the number of stem cells lines imported into the country as there is no system in place for monitoring their importation and use.

A directive of the European Council and Parliament, which will set standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells for human application, is reaching its final stage and is expected to be adopted in the coming months. This will have to be transposed into Irish law, in due course.

With regard to embryonic stem cell research, the need for legislation in this sensitive area is among a number of matters currently being examined by the commission on assisted human reproduction. The commission is preparing its report on possible approaches to the regulation of all aspects of assisted human reproduction and the social, ethical and legal factors to be taken into account in determining public policy in this area. It is anticipated that the report of the commission will be completed within the next few months and its recommendations will inform the development of public policy in this area.